Aliquippa School District
|Aliquippa School District|
|800 21st Street
Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Beaver County, 15001
|Motto||Excellence in Education|
|School board||9 elected at large members|
|Superintendent||Mr. David Wytiaz|
|School number||(724) 857–7500|
|Principal||Dr. Pete Carbone (Elementary School)|
|Principal||Mr. Alvin Gipson (Jr/Sr High School)|
|Vice principal||Mr. Dennis Drevna (Elementary School)|
|Vice principal||Ms. Lisa Dutkovich (Jr/Sr High School)|
|Grades||Kindergarten ~ 12th|
|Other||Enrollment is projected, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to be 1100 pupils in 2020|
|Color(s)||Red and Black|
|Team name||Aliquippa Quips|
|Budget||$20,000,000 2013–14 Fiscal Year|
|Feeder schools||Aliquippa Elementary School, Aliquippa Junior/Senior High School|
|Per Pupil Spending||2010 - $16,701 |
|Per pupils sending||2008 – $17,687|
The Aliquippa School District is a small, urban public school district located in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. The district serves the City of Aliquippa. Aliquippa School District encompasses approximately 4 square miles (10 km2). According to 2010 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 9,438 people. In 2009, the district residents’ per capita income was $13,718, while the median family income was $34,003. In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.
According to District officials, in school year 2007–08 the district provided basic educational services to 1,170 pupils through the employment of 124 teachers, 74 full-time and part-time support personnel, and nine administrators. Today the Aliquippa Public School District consists of two facilities, Aliquippa Elementary School (K-6) and Aliquippa Junior/Senior High School (7-12).
- 1 History
- 2 Aliquippa Elementary School
- 3 Aliquippa Junior/Senior High School
- 4 Aliquippa Senior High School
- 5 Possible mergers
- 6 Governance
- 7 Academic achievement
- 8 Preschool
- 9 Special education
- 10 Budget
- 10.1 State basic education funding
- 10.2 Federal Stimulus grant
- 10.3 Common Cents state initiative
- 10.4 Real estate taxes
- 11 Consolidation of the School District
- 12 Wellness policy
- 13 Extracurriculars
- 14 External links
- 15 References
The present Aliquippa School District, originally the Woodlawn School District, was organized on June 7, 1909. The borough of Woodlawn was incorporated from Hopewell Township in 1908. Its population drawn to the area by the establishment of the Aliquippa Works of Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation along the Ohio River.
According to historian Ivagean Ferry, from whose "Brief History of Education in Aliquippa" much of the information in this account has been taken, two districts had been in operation in the area - the Logstown Independent District and the Aliquippa School District. In 1928 Aliquippa was renamed West Aliquippa when it consolidated with the town of Woodlawn, the larger borough, which at that time took the Indian name of Aliquippa."
The Woodlawn District in 1909 elected its first Board of School Directors: H. J. Johns, president; John T. Bell, secretary; W. G. Cochran (a non-member), treasurer; and members, C. H. Dinsmore, G. Walter Prosser, G. W. Gray, and J. H. Robb.
The challenge to the district, headed by Calvin Springer, was finding classrooms for its 225 pupils. They were housed in the Woodlawn Academy, the old Logstown School, and a room in the Dinsmore house on Hopewell Avenue. The ten-room Highland School was the first neighborhood school erected. In 1911 the eight-room Logstown School was constructed. Woodlawn High School, a two story building of twelve rooms, opened in 1913. Laughlin School was built in 1917; Jones School was erected in 1919 by that time the student population was 2,000.
The first high school students of Woodlawn had been housed in elementary schools or sent to Beaver for senior classes and graduation. In 1913 the first senior class was graduated from the Logstown Building: Lehman Howard, Elvira Davis, Carol Howard, Eleanor Calhoun, Edwin Davis, and Ruth Scott. The first class to be graduated from Woodlawn High School was the class of 1914: Dewitt Baker, Rose Eberlie, Helen McGaughy, Alda Johnson, Ruth Stevenson, Orie Cochran, and Joseph Cochran.
In 1921, Woodlawn withdrew from Beaver County supervision and became an independent district, headed by Superintendent 0. H. Locke.
Less than ten years after the construction of Woodlawn High School, a new high school was erected on a hilltop overlooking Franklin Avenue. With its 34 classrooms, laboratories and offices, the high school was completed in 1925. A second building phase followed: the construction of a gymnasium-auditorium and the first part of a vocational shop on the hill above the school. Named Harding High School, in 1930 it was renamed the Aliquippa High School. A two-story wing was added to the high school in 1929.
In 1925 the borough annexed New Sheffield from Hopewell Township. The ten-room New Sheffield School was constructed in 1931. At the other end of the town, the McDonald School was built in 1940.
One of Aliquippa's most innovative and successful administrators was H. R. Vanderslice, who became superintendent of the schools on May 6, 1926. Mrs. Ferry writes that he believed "the basic philosophy that life and education are inseparable; that school life should be vitalized by tying it directly to the things people see and do outside of school." Based on John Dewey's philosophy, progressive education characterized the Aliquippa elementary schools.
For the secondary grades, Mr. Vanderslice encouraged "purposeful activities of a recreational and aesthetic nature ... that would cultivate talents and social skills for better living." A high school band was organized under A. D. Davenport in 1926. In 1928, Director Davenport composed the music and Clifford J. Smith, a high school teacher, wrote the words of "Wave Red and Black," which became Aliquippa's almamater. In 1930 Joseph Marchetti created a four-year art course. An outstanding teacher, he was awarded the Silver Award of the Eastern Arts Association.
The school population had grown to 6,600 students by 1929. Because the district could not provide new schools immediately, in 1928, all-year-round school was the district's answer to the problem. As Mrs. Ferry explains, the all-year round plan "set up four quarters of twelve weeks each ... The distribution of enrollment was made so that three-fourths of the children were in school and one-fourth on vacation each quarter."
When Superintendent Vanderslice resigned in 1937, Lytle M. Wilson was chosen to succeed him in a post he held until 1955. Named assistant superintendent was Archibald D. Dungan. Robert Crawford became the high school principal and Dr. C. Earl Shank, the Franklin junior High School principal. Elementary principals included Mrs. Elizabeth S. Lesquin, Leotta Caldwell, Herbert E. Scott, and Mrs. Elvira K. McDonald. Mrs. Olive Tschippert became curriculum coordinator for the elementary grades.
Named school psychologist in 1949, Mrs. Lesquin held that position until June, 1958, when she resigned. In 1958, Dr. Anne K. Davies was appointed school psychologist and elementary supervisor.
Since enrollments were still increasing in the elementary grades, an addition was made to the New Sheffield building in 1954. In 1956 a junior high school was constructed with a capacity of 1,200. The principal of the school was Dr. C. Earl Shank.
Every school district has outstanding teachers; to list them all is impossible. However, when a community publicly honors its educators, the historian must take note. The Aliquippa Chamber of Commerce presented Man of the Year Awards to Lawrence Blaney in 1958, to Clifford J. Smith in 1963, and to Samuel Milanovich in 1964. Coach Carl Aschman was named Man of the Year in Sports in 1959. Mrs. Olive Tschippert was awarded the Woman of the Year Award by the Chamber in 1966. Roger Jones and Donald Adams were presented the Brotherhood Award in 1952 and 1965, respectively. Honored as Woman of the Year in 1965 by the Aliquippa Business and Professional Women's Club was Caroline Theil. Mrs. Charlotte M. Bacon was named Woman of the Year by the Aliquippa Branch, American Association of University Women in 1980. Mrs. Elizabeth Carver was elected to the Aliquippa Hall of Fame in 1980, honored for her organization of Play Day for county girls and for leadership in girls' sports.
With the sixties came serious challenges. Late in the decade, racial unrest led to upheavals in the junior and senior high schools and to the temporary closing of the schools in 1970. A comprehensive survey of the community and its schools was made. The district set up a study team of members of the National Education Association and the state and Pittsburgh chapters of the N.A.A.C.P., which met with the mayor's bi-racial Human Relations Committee to try to find solutions. Lawrence M. Maravich, elected superintendent in 1966, reported on policies being put into practice to promote equality of opportunity. It was found imperative to put the child first, not the curriculum. To desegregate the schools, Aliquippa changed its organizational structure and grouped classes into three units: for elementary school, K–4, for middle school, 5–8, for high school, 9–12. Buildings used were the high school, the former junior high school, which became a middle school, and the New Sheffield Elementary School. In 1987–88 only the high school and the New Sheffield School were in use.
Rather unexpectedly, in the eighties came the collapse of the industry that had created and nourished the community. The Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation met economic distress by making plant-wide lay-offs and at last by selling out to LTV. The schools suffered devastating effects. Unemployment continued for years, and many left the area. Student enrollments dropped through the decade. In October 1987, only 1,779 students were enrolled in a district that had once enlisted more than 6,000 students. Today only three of the original 11 schools stand, New Sheffield Elementary School is now the newly renovated Aliquippa Elementary School, Aliquippa Junior High School is now the newly renovated Aliquippa Junior-Senior High School, and Laughlin School is now Beaver County Headstarts Aliquippa School.
In 2006 the Aliquippa School Board of Directors wanted to renovate and restore the at the time the Aliquippa Middle School Gym. The Aliquippa School District at the time consisted of three facilities Aliquippa Elementary School, Aliquippa Middle School, and Aliquippa High School. At the time the Aliquippa`s schools were not in the greatest shape. Aliquippa Elementary School, originally New Sheffield Elementary School, was built in 1931 and had signs of serious wear. Aliquippa Middle School formerly the Aliquippa Jr. High School was built in 1959 and was showing its signs of wear, and Aliquippa High School was built in 1924 and was in a state of deterioration. The Aliquippa School Board ordered an inspection of all three facilities and then decided to renovate in 2007. The School Board began making proposals and receiving plans. Due to declining enrollment the Aliquippa School District finally accepted the Burt Hill Proposal and they would renovate the Elementary School from grades K–4 to K–6 and renovate Aliquippa Middle School with the high school rearrange the grades from 5–8 to 7–12 and rename it the Aliquippa Junior/Senior High School. The Aliquippa School Board appointed USG Construction and groundbreaking took place in May,2008 and the construction began the following day. The renovations ended later on in the year. The project cost $40,000,000 but it was worth it. The Aliquippa Schools are today the Pride of many Aliquippeans.
Aliquippa Elementary School
The Aliquippa Elementary School has had a long history that starts here. In 1929 the Borough of Aliquippa annexed New Sheffield from Hopewell Township. In 1930 the Aliquippa School District acquired the Cooper Farm for the construction of a new Elementary School. New Sheffield Elementary School dedicated March 6, 1931 was a three story brick structure which housed ten rooms. The building was built so that expansion to the original structure was more easily accommodated. The building was constructed of J&L Junior I Beams that allowed for superior construction. In 1954 the school was renovated with a seven room two story brick structure to the south and a small gymnasium to the North. In 1978 the original gymnasium was removed and a three story concrete panel wing was built, a three story brick structure, and a new gym was added. In 1992 New Sheffield Elementary School was renamed Aliquippa Elementary School, This was done due to the Aliquippa School District minimizing schools due to declining enrollment. In 2008 the Aliquippa School Board of Directors decided to realign the grades in the current schools. AES was renovated with Fifth and Sixth Grades, A three Story Brick structure was renovated towards Kennedy Boulevard, A Kitchen was added onto the Two Story 1954 annex, and the Gym was expanded. In 2011 the Aliquippa School Board decided to move the School District Offices to the Elementary School. Today the Elementary School enrolls over 500 students.
Aliquippa Junior/Senior High School
In 1956 The Aliquippa School District began looking for sites to construct a new Junior High School Facility. In 1957 a site was chosen on top of the hill overlooking the High School, and in 1958 construction began on the new building, and in 1959 Aliquippa Junior High School was dedicated and was built to house 1,200 pupils and was built to house grades 5 to 8. The building was renamed Aliquippa Middle School in the 1970s. Then March 7, 1985 the Aliquippa School Board voted to close Aliquippa Middle School after only 20 years of service. The school board decided to then realign the grades. New Sheffield Elementary School ( Currently Aliquippa Elementary School ) will house grades Kindergarten through Sixth Grade and Aliquippa High School would house grades Seventh through Tweleth Grade. By that time Aliquippa High School would be renamed Aliquippa Junior/Senior High School. It remained that until 1992 when the Aliquippa School Board decided to renovate the former Junior High building, open it, and rename it Aliquippa Middle School. It remained this until 2008 when the Aliquippa School District renovated the middle school building with the high school and renamed it Aliquippa Junior/Senior High School and enrolls 492 pupils.
Aliquippa Senior High School
In 1909 the then Woodlawn School District built Woodlawn High School on the foot of the Plan 12 Hill over Franklin Avenue. This school served the Borough of Woodlawn for many years until 1923, In 1924 the dedication ceremony was conducted for the new Harding High School, The School was named after the late president Warren G. Harding. Woodlawn High School was renamed Franklin School until it was demolished in 1988. In 1931 Harding High School was renamed Aliquippa High School this was done due to the Merger of Woodlawn and Aliquippa three years earlier in 1928. In 1954 a Auditorium was built. In 2008 the Aliquippa High School was in a State of Deterioration. The Aliquippa School Board decided to move high school students up to the middle school which was being renovated. The School was demolished in 2010. Today Aliquippa High School is in the memories of many Aliquippeans.
Ever since the collapse of the steel mills in Aliquippa, the Aliquippa Public Schools have had declining enrollment. The Aliquippa School Board has made 6 attempts to merge with the nearby Hopewell Area School District hoping it will sustain declining enrollment. Unfortunately the Hopewell Area School District has declined Aliquippas requests. One attempt was made to merge with Center Area School District now Central Valley School District, unfortunately Center declined Aliquippa. One attempt was made to merge with the new Central Valley School District and it was declined again.
Wave Red and Black forever wave
Unfurl Aloft our fairest name
Wave Red and Black Forever Wave
We praise thy Glorious Fame
Fight Forth and Conquer for our Banner And may our Spirit never Die!!!
Wave Red and Black forever Wave For Aliquippa High
The school district is governed by nine individually elected board members (serve four-year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.
The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "F" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.
Aliquippa School District was ranked 101st out of 105 Western Pennsylvania School Districts in 2012, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on the last three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: math, reading, writing and science.
- Western Pennsylvania School Districts ranking
- Statewide Honor Roll Ranking (498 school districts)
- 2012 - 491st
- 2011 - 493rd
- 2010 - 489th
- 2009 - 488th
- 2008 - 487th
- 2007 - 490th of 501 school districts.
In 2011 Aliquippa School District reported a graduation rate of 85%. In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, four year cohort graduation rate. Aliquippa School District's rate was 76% for 2010.
Traditional graduation rate:
Aliquippa Junior Senior High School is located at 100 Harding Avenue, Aliquippa. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 509 pupils in grades 7–12, with 385 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.
In 2011 Aliquippa Junior-Senior High School achieved AYP status. In 2010 the school achieved Warning status. In 2009, Aliquippa High School was in Corrective Action II 2nd Year due to chronic, low academic achievement of its students.
The school's eleventh grade ranked 109th out of 123 western Pennsylvania high schools for student academic achievement in 2009. The ranking was made by the Pittsburgh Business Times. It was based on three years of PSSA results on: reading, writing, math and one year of science.
- PSSA Results
- 11th Grade Reading
- 2011 - 40% on grade level, (30% below basic). 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2010 - 29%, (44% below basic). State - 66%
- 2009 - 29%, State - 65%
- 2008 - 44%, State - 65%
- 2007 - 65%, State - 65%
- 11th Grade Math
- 2011 - 29%, on grade level (51% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2010 - 13%, State - 59%
- 2009 - 23%, State - 56%
- 2008 - 33%, State - 56%
- 2007 - 37%, State - 53%
- 11th Grade Science
- 2011 - 5% on grade level (60% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2010 - 1% (68% below basic). State - 39%
- 2009 - 10%, State - 40%
- 2008 - 26%, State - 39%
'College remediation - According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 47% of Aliquippa School District graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses, in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education schools or the community colleges. Less than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates, who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania, will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduate in three years. Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates, who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges, takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.
The high school offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books. Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions. For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $5,414 for the program.
From January to June 2011 45 Aliquippa School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 371. The Math average score was 382. The Writing average score was 338. Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479. In the United States 1.65 million students took the exam in 2011. They averaged 497 (out of 800) verbal, 514 math and 489 in writing.
Junior high school
In 2009 the district built a new building which houses both a junior and senior high school. In 2009, Aliquippa Middle School was in Corrective Action II 2nd Year due to chronically low academic achievement of the students.
Aliquippa Middle School was ranked 138th out of 141 Western Pennsylvania Middle Schools in 2009 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for math, reading, writing and science.
- 8th Grade Reading:
- 2011 - 53% on grade level (22% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81.8% of 8th graders on grade level.
- 2010 - 50% (23% below basic). State - 81%
- 2009 - 57%, State - 80.9%
- 2008 - 43%, State - 78%
- 2007 - 41%, State - 75%
- 8th Grade Math:
- 2011 - 45% on grade level (34.6% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 76.9% of 8th graders are on grade level
- 2010 - 26% (50% below basic), State - 75%
- 2009 - 33%, State - 71%
- 2008 - 33%, State - 70%
- 2007 - 16%, State - 67%
- 8th Grade Science:
- 2011 - 27% on grade level (57% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
- 2010 - 10% (84% below basic). State - 57%
- 2009 - 13%, State - 55%
- 2008 - 10%, State - 50%
- 7th Grade Reading
- 2011 - 48% on grade level (28% below basic). State – 76%
- 2010 - 44% (34% below basic). State - 73%
- 2009 - 25% (31% below basic), State - 71%
- 7th Grade Math:
- 2011 - 54% on grade level (23% below basic). State - 78.6%
- 2010 - 36% (38% below basic). State - 77%
- 2009 - 25% (36.7% below basic), State - 75%
In 2011, the school declined to School Improvement status due to chronic low student achievement. In 2010 the school was in Warning status. In 2011, the attendance rate was 93%.
6th Grade Reading:
6th Grade Math:
5th Grade Reading:
5th Grade Math:
- 4th Grade Science
- 2011 - 65%, (7% below basic), State – 82.9%
- 2010 - 66%, (18% below basic), State - 81%
- 2009 - 79%, (2% below basic), State - 83%
Beaver County Head Start has partnered with Aliquippa School District to provide Head Start and Early intervention programming to resident children (ages of 3 and 5 years) for 5 days a week, five hours a day.
In December 2010, the district administration reported that 246 pupils or 20% of the district's pupils received Special Education services. In December 2009, the district administration reported that 231 pupils or 20.3% of the district's pupils received special education services.
In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, the school district engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress . To identify students who may be eligible for special education services, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Special Education administration. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the district's Special Education Department.
In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding. The Pennsylvania Special Education funding system assumes that 16% of the district’s students receive special education services. It also assumes that each student’s needs accrue the same level of costs. The state requires each district to have a three year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students. Overidentification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts, like Aliquippa School District, have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.
Aliquippa School District received a $1,074,119 supplement for special education services in 2010. For the 2011-12 school year, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.
In 2007, the Aliquippa School District employed 115 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $50,236 for 180 days worked.
The district administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $1126 per pupil. The district ranked 34th of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts for administrative costs. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association, the average salary for a superintendent for the 2007-08 school year was $122,165. Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.
In 2008 the district administration reported that per pupil spending was $17,687 which ranked 26th among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010 the per pupil spending had decreased to $16,701.33 Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09. In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.
Reserves - In 2008, the district reported an unreserved designated fund balance of zero and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $1,248,657.00. In 2010, Aliquippa School Administration reported $336,414 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. Pennsylvania school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.
In December 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. The audit found that one teacher was assigned to a position without proper certification. Information pertaining to the questionable certificates was submitted to the PDE's Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality. The findings were reported to the school board and administration.
The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless of the individual's wealth.
State basic education funding
In 2011-12, Aliquippa School District received $7,977,273 in state Basic Education Funding. Additionally, the district received $150,154 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011. The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 887 students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income, in the 2010–11 school year.
For the 2010-11 school year, Aliquippa School District received a 2.04% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $8,303,126 payment. Midland Borough School District received a 7.57% increase, which was the highest increase in BEF in Beaver County. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010-11 school year. One hundred fifty school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010-11. The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by then Governor Edward Rendell and the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.
In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided Aliquippa School District a 2% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $8,136,818. Four Beaver County school districts received increases of over 4% in Basic Education Funding in 2008-10. Big Beaver Falls Area School District received an 5.26% increase. The majority of Beaver County districts received a 2% increase. In Pennsylvania, over 15 school districts received Basic Education Funding increases in excess of 10% in 2009. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding. The state's Basic Education Funding to the Aliquippa School District in 2008-09 was $7,977,272.79 The amount of increase each school district receives was determined by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.
Accountability Block Grants
Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students. For 2010-11, the Aliquippa School District applied for and received $407,557 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the 7th year and for extensive teacher training programs.
Classrooms for the Future grant
The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math), along with other specialized equipment and provided funding for teacher training to optimize the use of the computers. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Aliquippa School District did not apply for funding in 2006-07. The Aliquippa School District received $83,935 in 2007-08 and was given $45,413 for the 2008-09 school year.
Education Assistance grant
Aliquippa School Administration applied for the state's Education Assistance Grant. The district received $134,120. The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code.
Aliquippa School District was awarded a $1 million competitive literacy grant. It is to be used to improve reading skills kindergarten through 12th grade. The district was required to develop a lengthly plan which included outreach into the community. The funds come from a Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, also referred to as the Keystones to Opportunity grant It is a five-year, competitive federal grant program designed to assist local education agencies in developing and implementing local comprehensive literacy plans. Of the 329 pre-applications by school districts reviewed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Aliquippa School District was one of only 148 entities that were invited to submit a full application. The funds must be used for teacher training, student screening and assessment, targeted interventions for students reading below grade level and research-based methods of improving classroom instruction and practice. Pennsylvania was among six other states, out of the 35 that applied, to be awarded funding. Pennsylvania received $38 million through the federal program. The Department of Education reserved 5% of the grant for administration costs at the state level.
Federal Stimulus grant
The district received an extra $1,716,512 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students. The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years. Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised to use the funds for one-time expenditures like acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.
Race to the Top
School district officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant. The district is identified as a turnaround district due to the chronically low academic achievement of its students. When approved for the grant, the district will receive hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement. Turnaround status also brings an extra $700 per student, in supplemental funding above the basic grant amount. Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. According to then Governor Rendell, failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.
Common Cents state initiative
The Aliquippa School District School Board chose to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars. After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.
Real estate taxes
The Aliquippa School Board set property tax rates, in 2011-2012, at 32.5000 mills for buildings and 202.0000 mills for land. A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region. Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and government property. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.
- 2010-11 - 32.0000 mills for buildings and 198.0000 mills for land.
- 2009-10 - 31.0000 mills for buildings and 195.0000 mills for land.
- 2008-09 - 29.5000 mills for buildings and 188.0000 mills for land.
- 2007-08 - 28.0000 mills for buildings and 177.0000 mills for land.
Act 1 Adjusted index
The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not permitted to raise taxes above that index, unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The base index for the 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year. With the 2011 state education budget, the General Assembly voted to end most of the Act 1 exceptions leaving only special education costs and pension costs. The cost of construction projects will go to the voters for approval via ballot referendum.
The School District Adjusted Index for the Aliquippa School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.
- 2006-07 - 5.8%, Base 3.9%
- 2007-08 - 5.1%, Base 3.4%
- 2008-09 - 6.6%, Base 4.4%
- 2009-10 - 6.2%, Base 4.1%
- 2010-11 - 4.4%, Base 2.9%
- 2011-12 - 2.1%, Base 1.4%
- 2012-13 - 2.6%, Base 1.7%
For the 2011-12 school year, the Aliquippa School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Aliquippa School Board has the option of adopting either 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is publisher each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
According to a state report, for the 2011-2012 school year budgets, 247 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 250 school districts adopted a preliminary budget. Of the 250 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget, 231 adopted real estate tax rates that exceeded their index. Tax rate increases in the other 19 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget did not exceed the school district’s index. Of the districts who sought exceptions 221 used the pension costs exemption and 171 sought a Special Education costs exemption. Only 1 school district sought an exemption for Nonacademic School Construction Project, while 1 sought an exception for Electoral debt for school construction.
Aliquippa School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009-10 nor in 2010-11. In the Spring of 2010, 135 Pennsylvania school boards asked to exceed their adjusted index. Approval was granted to 133 of them and 128 sought an exception for pension costs increases.
Property tax relief
In 2010, the relief was set at $356 for 2,101 approved homesteads and farmsteads. This was the highest relief provided among Beaver County school districts. In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Aliquippa School District was $357 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2,100 property owners applied for the tax relief. The highest property tax relief, among Pennsylvania school districts, went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $632 per approved homestead. The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Beaver County, 64% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.
Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, so that people with income of far more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.
Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the U.S. in 2008 in terms of property taxes paid as a percentage of home value (1.34%) and 12th in the country in terms of property taxes as a percentage of income (3.55%).
Consolidation of the School District
The Class of 2009 was the final graduating class for the current Aliquippa High School. Beginning with the 2009/2010 school year, the current Aliquippa Middle School will become the Aliquippa Jr/Sr High School, which will house all current grades served by the existing middle and high school.
Aliquippa School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Policy 246. The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 - 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006." The Superintendent is required to report annually to the Board regarding this policy and the associated issues.
The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education and physical education that are aligned with the Pennsylvania State Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, districts were required to involve a broad group of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Districts were offered a choice of levels of implementation for limiting or prohibiting low nutrition foods on the school campus. In final implementation these regulations prohibit some foods and beverages on the school campus.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.
The students have access to a widevariety of clubs, activities and sports. The Aliquippa School Board determines eligibility policies to participate in these programs.
By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, charter school and those homeschooled, are eligible to participate in the extracurricular programs, including all athletics. They must meet the same eligibility rules as the students enrolled in the district's schools.
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